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Old 09-13-12, 02:59 AM   #1
Antoni
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Overkill?

Hi everyone,

I am new to cycling and need a bike for two to four hour rides--around town, maybe some gravel trails--but also good for short trips and commuting. I was thinking because of duration I should get a touring bike--the Raleigh Sojourn seems to make good sense to me. Would you guys say that I should just get a commuter bike for this purpose, and, if so, what are some opinions on the Raleigh? I hope to take longer more adventurous rides in the future but probably not a ride longer than five hours--touring across country is a definite no, since mama raised a fancy boy

My budget is 1-2k...Any help would be great!
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Old 09-13-12, 06:38 AM   #2
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Touring bikes a designed to haul stuff. If you're just going to want a back rack at the most I would go with a relaxed geometry road bike. The Raleigh Sojourn is a lot of bike for what you want to do with it.

Sounds like you had a pretty good idea that it would be overkill, but if you like the bike, it'll certainly take everything you'll throw at it. : )

If that were my budget and needs I'd go with something like a Salsa Casseroll. Sadly, I just found out they stopped making it. : ( I was going to link you to it.
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Old 09-13-12, 06:46 AM   #3
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As you suggested, the Sojourn is definitely overkill if you're not doing multiple day tours with lots of gear or across poor quality roads.

What riding style do you like? Upright with flat bars (better for commuting and around town) or a road bike with drop bars?

Either way, you probably don't need a touring bike if you don't expect to go longer than 5 hours.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:42 AM   #4
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Touring bikes a designed to haul stuff. If you're just going to want a back rack at the most I would go with a relaxed geometry road bike. The Raleigh Sojourn is a lot of bike for what you want to do with it.

Sounds like you had a pretty good idea that it would be overkill, but if you like the bike, it'll certainly take everything you'll throw at it. : )

If that were my budget and needs I'd go with something like a Salsa Casseroll. Sadly, I just found out they stopped making it. : ( I was going to link you to it.
Salsa Vaya is close to the Casserole - and more versatile IMHO. Can be used to tour, commute, fast ride, and even some off roading if desired (not loose sand, etc.). I have wider tires and love the ride. I tried the Long Haul Trucker and it did not feel right - probably due to the fact that it is set up for heavy touring as well, and since I wasn't doing that 99.9% of the time that is why it didn't do as well as the Vaya.
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Old 09-13-12, 07:59 AM   #5
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I own a Raleigh Port Townsend, which is basically a Raleigh Sojourn with cheaper components. I have used it exclusively for two years. For once in my life, I am an expert!

1. I replaced the seat immediately. The stock leather or synthetic-leather seat is not comfortable even after being broken in. Consider this in the cost.

2. At stoplights, the weight of the bike was noticeable. I commute in traffic, often taking the lane, but having a real difficulty getting the bike to lurch forward without any extra weight on it was not much fun, and was occasionally a real nuisance for cars. When I try out lighter bikes, this is when I most notice the difference.

3. Off-road, it's no mountain bike. Gravel and sand are pretty uncrossable, although really packed gravel is fine. It's a burly bike and you won't break it, but the thin tires make off-roading a real challenge.

4. I put on 3,500 miles just commuting, then I put on another 1,500 touring. the 1,500 was the most enjoyable- the bike was in it's element and the frame dampened most road buzz. It was very comfortable on long rides, once I passed the threshold of butt and back pain.


For your needs, I would actually look into a Cyclocross Bike. The Raleigh RX-1 weighs 5 or 6 pounds less and has lighter rims. Since rims are subject to centrifugal force, the lightness here makes a HUGE difference at stoplights, or when starting from 0mph. This bike also has pretty burly tires for trails, and because it's built for off-roading, everything is burly enough to last you a while.

So yes, the Sojourn would probably be overkill, but once you get the "bug" of long trips, you might wish you had that indestructible steel frame and rack mounts...
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Old 09-13-12, 08:00 AM   #6
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I would also consider the Jamis sports/touring bikes, including the Aurora Elite, Aurora and Bosanova. These are more at the light-touring end of the commuter-touring spectrum.

http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...12_aurora.html
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Old 09-13-12, 08:07 AM   #7
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Personally I wouldn't want to ride a touring bike unless I was carrying heavy stuff. Some others don't seem to mind, but they are like tanks compared to the alternatives IMO. I never rode my touring bike much other than on tour and now that I have adopted a lighter packing style I haven't been on it even for multi-week and/or multi-thousand mile tours. I think that the Sojourn is more of a tank than some other touring bikes so I definitely wouldn't use it for what you are suggesting.

Personal preference but... For the use you describe, I'd pick something fairly sporty. In other words a road bike or maybe a cyclo-cross bike depending on the quantity and nature of the gravel trails you mentioned.

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Old 09-13-12, 08:40 AM   #8
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Frameset of touring bikes adds a small amount of extra material.
the things you bolt onto the frame is where the weight is..

Some fame features to consider: rear panniers , going to use them?
what size feet do you have, ?
think about kicking your bag with every pedal stroke
if the extra chain stay distance was not sufficient.
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Old 09-13-12, 08:41 AM   #9
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I have a Jamis Aurora, about 6 years old, which I used for commuting 34 miles round trip. It was excellent. I threw a pannier on it. Carried my work/gym clothes, also excellent for shopping, etc.

Then I tried touring with it. Needed to change gears, wheels, tires....

Now, it's also great for touring, but off the rack an excellent commuter, fun bike..

Jerry
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Old 09-13-12, 08:43 AM   #10
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If you weigh a LOT a touring bike might be your cup of tea but a sport-tour or cross bike sounds better.
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Old 09-13-12, 08:48 AM   #11
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Some others don't seem to mind, but they are like tanks compared to the alternatives IMO.
It's that tank-like quality that I like : P it's clearly overkill but nice to know it's capable of doing much more if I want/need it.

There are plenty of folks who drive a truck to their office job every day. (though when it comes to cars I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum)
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Old 09-13-12, 09:05 AM   #12
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Buy whatever you like.

I just built a Disc Trucker for commuting. I want to start touring, so that is the end goal, but it's first purpose is getting me to work year round. My other bikes are race bikes and the Trucker feels marginally slower. I'm talking it takes me only a couple minutes longer to do anything. Even on 2" tires and a wheel set built for someone twice my weight (135) I have no problem riding 22+mph on the flats, with a load. The bike weight only becomes noticeable while climbing, unloaded sprinting out of the saddle (probably looks as ridiculous as it sounds) and while starting uphill from a light. Even then, it's not that big of a deal.
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Old 09-13-12, 09:25 AM   #13
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My Long Haul Trucker spends about two weeks a year, give or take, actually hauling me and my gear between campsites. The rest of the time it takes me between work and home, around town, to the grocery store, basically everywhere. If I need/want to carry a lot, I'm glad to know that I can. A couple of full grocery bags are no problem. Everything I need to sit and enjoy some of the outdoor entertainment around the city can be easily accommodated.

Overkill? Probably. It's not fast, and it's not light. My first reaction after switching from an aluminum hybrid was that it was like biking around on my living room sofa. Solid, comfy, but neither speedy nor nimble. It suits me fine.

I think a touring bike makes perfect sense as a utilitarian, around-town bike. But if all you do is commute and take leisure rides, then its capacity for dragging around several pounds junk will probably not be appreciated or needed. I agree with others that perhaps sport-touring or cyclocross will suit you better.
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Old 09-13-12, 09:45 AM   #14
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I own a Raleigh Port Townsend, which is basically a Raleigh Sojourn with cheaper components. I have used it exclusively for two years. For once in my life, I am an expert!

1. I replaced the seat immediately. The stock leather or synthetic-leather seat is not comfortable even after being broken in. Consider this in the cost.

2. At stoplights, the weight of the bike was noticeable. I commute in traffic, often taking the lane, but having a real difficulty getting the bike to lurch forward without any extra weight on it was not much fun, and was occasionally a real nuisance for cars. When I try out lighter bikes, this is when I most notice the difference.

3. Off-road, it's no mountain bike. Gravel and sand are pretty uncrossable, although really packed gravel is fine. It's a burly bike and you won't break it, but the thin tires make off-roading a real challenge.

4. I put on 3,500 miles just commuting, then I put on another 1,500 touring. the 1,500 was the most enjoyable- the bike was in it's element and the frame dampened most road buzz. It was very comfortable on long rides, once I passed the threshold of butt and back pain.


For your needs, I would actually look into a Cyclocross Bike. The Raleigh RX-1 weighs 5 or 6 pounds less and has lighter rims. Since rims are subject to centrifugal force, the lightness here makes a HUGE difference at stoplights, or when starting from 0mph. This bike also has pretty burly tires for trails, and because it's built for off-roading, everything is burly enough to last you a while.

So yes, the Sojourn would probably be overkill, but once you get the "bug" of long trips, you might wish you had that indestructible steel frame and rack mounts...
Great summary post!
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Old 09-13-12, 11:18 AM   #15
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I ride a Windsor Tourist as a daily driver.

There are a lot of things I like about the touring bike when not loaded. Relaxed geometry, fenders, wider tires, 36 spokes etc. But the thing that suits my riding style more than anything is the wide range gearing and super low gears. I don’t care as much about speed and the gearing more than makes up for the few pounds of weight for me.

For me it’s like a vintage bike but with the modern touches. Things like STI shifting, triple chain rings, 700 tires etc.
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Old 09-13-12, 12:13 PM   #16
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While I have many bikes, I ride a lot so they are worth it. Other members in my family ride far less, yet I've found the Jamis line of bikes very nice. My wife & daughter have a Jamis Coda, steel frame, triple crank, nice lower gearing, flat handlebars. List is $550, though I found a leftover at the local outdoor store for 30% off this spring. I just got my son a Jamis Satellite Sport, $600, steel frame, triple, not as low gearing as the Code, drop bars and brifters.

The Jamis have really held up over the past couple of years and seem to fit your criteria.
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Old 09-13-12, 12:48 PM   #17
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I am fairly new to cycling and have just been on a few short weekend trips so take this with a grain of salt but in the several months that I read about the LHT I heard the words "tank" and "heavy" so many times that I was almost losing interest. When I actually rode the bike I was shocked at how great and non-tank-like it felt. Other than being a smoother ride it didn't feel that much different from my road bike. There's a post in an ACA thread where a guy did his best to compare the speed of his road bike to his LHT and the results were exactly the same. Some may dispute this but my point is that as a commuter and light tourer I don't think you are going to notice all that much. You didn't mention that speed is a concern but since these adjectives come up again and again I wanted to give you a newbies perspective.
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Old 09-13-12, 09:22 PM   #18
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Hi guys,

Thanks so much for the replies, this is a great forum full of really kind and helpful people. I'm starting to look into the Jamis and Salsa bikes. The Salsa Casserole sds delicious, but I don't know why I feel that the Sojourn is just so much better looking, aesthetics have some impact on my decision.

Other than that, speed is not important for me, I hv a motorcycle for spd. And the idea of touring is alluring, but I do wonder if I'd ever seriously tour for more than a weekend. Also, by gravel trails...sry I meant packed gravel--no off-roading.

So now, I'm wondering if I should just get a Dutch bike where the geometry would be most relaxed, but they are about 15lbs heavier than the Sojourn and wouldn't have the low gearing. Also, would they be as suitable as a touring bike for 2-4 hr rides? I really am a bit puzzled by the weight issue.
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Old 09-13-12, 09:55 PM   #19
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Kona has a couple models that look nice: Jake and Rove. Cyclocross bikes are worth considering, it you are looking for drop bars.http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=jake
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Old 09-13-12, 09:59 PM   #20
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Don't worry about weight, you'll stop noticing it as soon as you get on and pedal. Geometry is important though, and the dutch bike will start to hurt your backside after an hour in the saddle for sure. More of that weight needs to get off of the saddle, you need to get into a better position for power transfer. A touring bike is made to be as relaxed as possible while still allowing you to do long distances.

And if you like the Sojourn, get it. : ) If you like the aesthetics, every time you look down, who knows, you may get a little boost. ; )

Works for Niner Riders: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21753775@N03/3385532000/
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Old 09-13-12, 11:28 PM   #21
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Don't worry about weight, you'll stop noticing it as soon as you get on and pedal. Geometry is important though, and the dutch bike will start to hurt your backside after an hour in the saddle for sure. More of that weight needs to get off of the saddle, you need to get into a better position for power transfer. A touring bike is made to be as relaxed as possible while still allowing you to do long distances.

And if you like the Sojourn, get it. : ) If you like the aesthetics, every time you look down, who knows, you may get a little boost. ; )

Works for Niner Riders: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21753775@N03/3385532000/
Thks a lot for this advice...I thought perhaps a dutch bike's geometry might be just as good for long distances--albeit a lot slower. So the dutch geometry of fully upright is not suitable for several hrs of riding because of buttocks fatigue, heeehe? Or might it also strain one's back?

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Old 09-14-12, 05:05 AM   #22
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Just a followup to put some of this into perspective. You can do what you describe on just about any bike so the one you enjoy is the one to use.

I met a few dutch guys on the Southern Tier who rode long days day after day riding bolt upright. They made very good time and seemed to be having fun. Me, I would have been miserable. I find full on road bike posture most comfortable for long days of riding. So my bikes whether road, mountain, or touring tend to have the bars 4" below the saddle in an attempt to duplicate the supreme comfort of my road bike. What makes you happy could be anywhere in the range between these extremes.

Additionally I find sportier bikes to be more fun to ride so I ride them when I can.
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Old 09-14-12, 05:56 AM   #23
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While I have many bikes, I ride a lot so they are worth it. Other members in my family ride far less, yet I've found the Jamis line of bikes very nice. My wife & daughter have a Jamis Coda, steel frame, triple crank, nice lower gearing, flat handlebars. List is $550, though I found a leftover at the local outdoor store for 30% off this spring. I just got my son a Jamis Satellite Sport, $600, steel frame, triple, not as low gearing as the Code, drop bars and brifters.

The Jamis have really held up over the past couple of years and seem to fit your criteria.
My limited experience with Jamis is very good. We picked up a Commuter 2 a few years ago and it was well worth the money. About $75 less than comparable bikes, light weight, and I really like the fact that it did not have multiple front chainrings. Here in FLA that can be overkill. It does have quite a large first sprocket in the rear that can bail you out of just about anything around here.
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Old 09-14-12, 06:06 AM   #24
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Hi guys,

Thanks so much for the replies, this is a great forum full of really kind and helpful people. I'm starting to look into the Jamis and Salsa bikes. The Salsa Casserole sds delicious, but I don't know why I feel that the Sojourn is just so much better looking, aesthetics have some impact on my decision.

Other than that, speed is not important for me, I hv a motorcycle for spd. And the idea of touring is alluring, but I do wonder if I'd ever seriously tour for more than a weekend. Also, by gravel trails...sry I meant packed gravel--no off-roading.

So now, I'm wondering if I should just get a Dutch bike where the geometry would be most relaxed, but they are about 15lbs heavier than the Sojourn and wouldn't have the low gearing. Also, would they be as suitable as a touring bike for 2-4 hr rides? I really am a bit puzzled by the weight issue.
I wouldn't worry too much about weight if its a few pounds here or there. I remember talking to a bike tourist in Daytona Beach back in the 70's (I was dreaming of touring the country at that time in my life) and asked him how heavy/light his bike and gear were. He responded that he didn't know (and likely didn't care) and said that if he adds an orange or two it makes up for anything saved in gear/bike so why worry. However, 15 lbs. more on your bike to begin with would give me reason to pause - and walk away. Try and picture yourself moving it around, up stairs maybe, or even putting in a car or van. But more importantly (with all other things equal) a 25-30 pound bike will ride much nicer than a 45 pound bike (especially after an hour or so) - no two ways around that.

On aethetics. For me I love a beautiful bike (am looking at my Vaya right now) and it often inspires me to ride. I think it is important (at least to me) that a bike be something that you like the looks of. You do know that they ride nicer when clean too right?
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Old 09-14-12, 12:32 PM   #25
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Get thee to a bike shop, and ride lots of different bikes. They all have their own feel, and you will like some better than others. IMO fit and comfort should be at the top of your priority list, with lower priority given to the "type" of bike. If you want to ride gravel trails occasionally, that eliminates racing bikes, but beyond that there's lots to choose from. Get out there and try some out.
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